Market Commentary

Weekly Market Podcast
2-21-17

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Feb 22, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Solid economic data and earnings boost stocks to new highs, even as Yellen builds the case for more normalization. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, weekly economic and market podcast.

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Taking Chips off the Table

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Feb 22, 2017

Topic: Equities Fixed Income Market Commentary

The question we are often asked is…when should investors begin to take chips off the table? The S&P 500 Index has delivered a 16+ percentage point relative gain compared to the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index since the start of this fiscal year. Near term, we may see a return to a choppy market where stocks still best bonds but with a smaller differential.

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Weekly Market Podcast
2-13-17

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Feb 13, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Solid earnings and optimism about tax changes push equities to new highs. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, weekly economic and market podcast.

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Weekly Market Podcast
2-6-17

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Feb 6, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Equity rally after employment report leaves S&P 500 unchanged for the week. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, weekly economic and market podcast.

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Weekly Market Podcast
1-30-17

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jan 30, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Equity markets reach new highs this week despite small miss on 4th Quarter Real GDP. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, weekly economic and market podcast.

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Weekly Market Podcast
1-23-17

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jan 23, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Focus is on Real GDP and Earnings to Get a Better Picture of 4Q2016 Growth. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, weekly economic and market podcast.

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Weekly Market Podcast
1-17-17

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jan 17, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Domestic economic data remains solid but fears of trade war keep markets cautious. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, weekly economic and market podcast.

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Global Policy Divergence Arrives in 2017

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jan 17, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Notwithstanding the slower than expected normalization of U.S. monetary policy, the United States economy is in the best shape as compared to other developed and emerging markets as we enter 2017.

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Weekly Market Podcast
1-9-17

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jan 9, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Equities Shake Off Year End Flows to Reach New Highs in 2017. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
1-3-17

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jan 3, 2017

Topic: Market Commentary

Closing the Books on 2016 and Looking Ahead to 2017. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Taking Away the Punch Bowl

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Dec 19, 2016

Topic: Governance and Policy Investment Strategy Market Commentary

A combination of better economic growth, including stronger labor conditions and signs of a bottoming in inflation, provided the Fed with an opportunity to restart the normalization process by raising short rates 25 basis points at the mid-December FOMC meeting in what “Fed-watchers” from decades ago might term “taking away the punchbowl just when the party is warming up”. . .

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Weekly Market Podcast
12-19-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Dec 19, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

FOMC Restarts Normalization Process on Signs of Better Economic Activity. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
12-12-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Dec 12, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

10-year U.S. Treasuries Reach Highest Yield in 2+ years Ahead of FOMC. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
12-5-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Dec 5, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Solid Economic Data Puts Focus on the FOMC Next Week. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
11-28-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Nov 28, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Investors Continue to Rotate Portfolios Given New Political Climate. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
11-21-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Nov 21, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Equity Indices and Treasury Yields Continue Their Post-Election Rise. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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America’s Brexit Moment

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Nov 17, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Americans voted for change last week and, in similar fashion to the financial market response to Brexit in late June, the initial response from the financial markets quickly proved to be wrong.

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Weekly Market Podcast
11-14-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Nov 14, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Election Result Changes the Playbook For Investors. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Commonfund Election Update: Missions and Markets

Posted by Catherine Keating, President and Chief Executive Officer, Commonfund on Nov 11, 2016

Topic: Governance and Policy Investment Strategy Market Commentary

Commonfund is a firm that marries mission and markets in a unique way. And so today we assess the implications of last night's Presidential election on our clients' nonprofit missions as well as on the markets that we invest in together. There were many headlines about markets today, but few about mission. Yet we think that this is an important moment for mission-based organizations.

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Weekly Market Podcast
11-7-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Nov 7, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Election Jitters Fuel Opportunity This Week. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
10-31-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Oct 31, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Economic Data Supportive but Markets Have Election Jitters. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Earnings Trump Elections

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Oct 28, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The domestic stock market has staged a token improvement since the mid-month start of the earnings cycle as generally favorable earnings news has offset a good portion of the pre-election fears. If the elections unfold as the polls currently suggest, a modest relief rally could occur, as a portion of this idle cash is likely to be reinvested into the capital markets.

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Weekly Market Podcast
10-24-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Oct 24, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Positive Week in S&P 500 as Earnings Trump Elections. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
10-17-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Oct 17, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

S&P 500 Down for the Week on Concerns About Corporate Earnings and China. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
10-10-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Oct 10, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Earnings Season Starts Tonight with Domestic Corporations Relatively Stronger. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Yearning for Earnings

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Oct 7, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The third quarter earnings season is set to begin next week. S&P 500 companies are now anticipated by equity analysts to report yet another quarterly drop in year-over-year earnings. For more than a year, many strategists have been touting that stocks have to decline given the challenges with corporate earnings.

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Weekly Market Podcast
10-3-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Oct 3, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

OPEC and European Banks Controlled Headlines but S&P 500 was Unchanged. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
9-26-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Sep 26, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Global Markets React Positively To Central Bank Decisions Onto The Debate. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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The Central Bank Balancing Act

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Sep 23, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The balancing act conducted by monetary policy leaders at the Bank of Japan (BoJ) and the Federal Reserve this week was impressive. Japanese officials announced a new way of providing monetary policy stimulus, while U.S. officials voted to hold rates steady, but both lowered and extended out the bar for monetary policy normalization in the future. The net result of these events improved investor confidence and provided a catalyst to a rebound in risk assets.

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Weekly Market Podcast
9-12-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Sep 12, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Central Bank Concerns Fuel Market Jitters. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
9-6-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Sep 6, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Employment Data Supports Normalization But Question Is When. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Setting the Fed’s Table

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Aug 31, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Chair Yellen's speech at the Kansas City Fed's annual Jackson Hole symposium last Friday stressed that the economy is "nearing" the Fed's goals of full employment and stable prices. The key takeaway from the speech was that Yellen believes the “case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months” as she stressed that “based on this economic outlook, the FOMC continues to anticipate that gradual increases in the federal funds rate will be appropriate over time to achieve and sustain employment and inflation near our statutory objectives.” These comments, along with signs that the real GDP is potentially rebounding into the three percent range this quarter, set the Fed’s table that a policy adjustment could take place as early as the September 20-21 FOMC meeting.

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Weekly Market Podcast
8-29-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Aug 29, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Yellen Hints Case for Rate Hike Has Strengthened. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
8-22-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Aug 22, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Summer doldrums continue ahead of Yellen at Jackson Hole. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Opportunities Arise for Liquidity Investors

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Jon Speare on Aug 19, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary Operating Assets

For the last several months, significant asset flows have moved from institutional to government-only money market funds in anticipation of new regulations. On October 14, 2016 regulations will finally go into effect for non-government institutional money market funds, with the highlighted feature being the shift from a fixed $1 transaction share price to a floating NAV. These portfolios will be priced using the market-based value of the actual portfolio holdings, out to four decimals. This means that Endowments, Foundations, and other businesses that manage operating cash will no longer be able to hold funds in stable fixed $1.00 share price institutional money market accounts.

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Weekly Market Podcast
8-15-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Aug 15, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Employment and Earnings Continue to Provide Support to Domestic Stocks. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Jobs Take Stocks to New Highs

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Aug 11, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

For the second consecutive month, the employment report confirmed that the weak jobs reading in May was a temporary distortion. The stock market responded accordingly, as domestic stocks rallied to new highs.

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Weekly Market Podcast
8-8-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Aug 8, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Latest jobs report confirms a better domestic economy. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
8-1-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Aug 1, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Corporate earnings and consumption improve despite lackluster GDP.

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As Domestic Profits Turn

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jul 29, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Despite the weaker than expected real GDP reading for the just completed second quarter, the demand side of the economy was solid as real consumption spending grew at a 4.2 percent pace. Likewise, real final sales to private domestic purchasers rose 4.7 percent. The gains in these two components were the strongest increases in two years. At the end of the day, the important question is; what does it mean for corporate profits and future business activity?

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Commonfund Roundup
07-29-16

Posted by Commonfund on Jul 29, 2016

Topic: Equities Industry Knowledge Investment Strategy Market Commentary Responsible Investing

Commonfund's July Roundup features the Commonfund Study of Responsible Investing: Foundations Survey and Press Release; a webcast on the FY2016 Equity Performance Review, hosted by Mark Anson, Chief Investment Officer, Kris Kwait, Head of Investments, and Keith Luke, President, Commonfund Securities, Inc.; along with the latest weekly economic podcasts by Chief Economist, Michael Strauss.

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Weekly Market Podcast
7-25-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jul 25, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

S&P 500 at a record high after a solid start to 2nd quarter earnings season. Listen to Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Summer Doldrums

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jul 25, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Why Doesn’t it Feel Like a Record High? U.S. stocks closed last week at a record high amidst geopolitical and economic uncertainty around much of the world. Notwithstanding better market performance, many investors feel left out as rising markets have not lifted all boats. However, with domestic economic data showing signs of continued improvement and with earnings bottoming, what was a headwind may become a tailwind, particularly for those industries that can generate earnings and cash flow.

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Weekly Market Podcast
7-18-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jul 18, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

With S&P 500 at all-time highs maybe investors should have focused on “Breakout not Breakup”. Listen to: Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Breakout not Breakup

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jul 15, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

For the last several weeks, market participants have focused on the fears of a breakup of the European Union, especially after the “Brexit” vote. At the time we stressed that cooler heads should prevailand that these risks could provide investment opportunities for long-term investors.

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Weekly Market Podcast
7-11-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jul 11, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

May Jobs Slowdown Proves Fleeting. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Jobs Slowdown Proves Fleeting

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jul 8, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The sharp bounce back in nonfarm payrolls in June confirms that the Fed, as well as many market participants, overreacted to the weak labor data released a month ago.

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Weekly Market Podcast
7-5-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jul 5, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview on recent events in Europe.

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Brexit: Cooler Heads Prevail

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jul 5, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Since the Brexit vote, several continental European officials have moved to a hardline stance as witnessed by recent comments from Angela Merkel who stressed that the U.K. can't expect favorable treatment once it leaves and that there will be no informal talks on a new relationship before the government in London files its application for divorce.

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Commonfund Roundup
06-29-16

Posted by Commonfund on Jun 29, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation Governance and Policy Industry Knowledge Investment Strategy Market Commentary Responsible Investing Risk Management

In this month’s Commonfund Roundup, active management and risk are leading topics. Featured articles include: an interview in Institutional Investor with CEO, Catherine Keating, where she discusses the active-versus-passive debate and more; and “Active Management Fatigue and What to Do About it,” co-authored by Kristofer Kwait, Head of Investments; Jess Gaspar, Head of Asset Allocation and Research; and John Delano, Head of Analytics. Also included, the new white paper, "Striking the Balance: A Fiduciary Approach to Risk and the Investment Policy"; the latest weekly economic podcasts and more.

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Weekly Market Podcast
6-27-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jun 27, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

British voters take the markets by surprise with vote to exit the EU. Listen to Commonfund's Chief Economist, Michael Strauss, as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Brexit: Order from Disorder

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson, Chief Investment Officer, Commonfund | Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jun 24, 2016

Topic: Investment Strategy Market Commentary

The UK’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) has sent shock waves through the capital markets throughout the day today. The 52%/48% vote to leave the EU was a significant surprise, as most polls had the “remain” camp winning.

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Weekly Market Podcast
6-20-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Jun 20, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Yellen Goes to Washington & Bremain versus Brexit.

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“FedSpeak” Translated

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jun 17, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

It was a week of inaction as the FOMC, Bank of Japan and Bank of England kept their key interest rates unchanged. None of these announcements were unanticipated. The Bank of Japan is still in “wait and see” mode to assess the effectiveness of previous policy moves and the Bank of England is focused on the upcoming Brexit vote.

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Weekly Market Podcast
6-13-16

Posted by Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jun 13, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Shift of opinion in Brexit polling boosts global volatility.

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Catherine Keating speaks with Institutional Investor

Posted by Institutional Investor on Jun 10, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation Investment Strategy Market Commentary

Catherine Keating sits down with Institutional Investor to discuss the investment edge for nonprofits in a low-interest-rate environment and the active-versus-passive debate.

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What’s Next for Cash Investors?

Posted by Barbara Novick | Richard Aks | Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Jon Speare on Jun 7, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation Investment Strategy Market Commentary Operating Assets

In the static low-rate environment of recent years, it seemed as though there was no “what’s next” for cash. Today, that has changed, as there are major forces reshaping the regulatory and interest rate regimes.

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Sometimes You Get One Bad Egg

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jun 7, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The first week of June seemed fairly uneventful as the S&P 500 traded in a ten point range leading up the release of the employment report on Friday. However, that trading range didn’t hold after it was revealed that hiring in May was far less than the consensus estimates.

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Weekly Market Podcast
6-6-16

Posted by Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Jun 6, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Domestic equities remain resilient in the wake of a weaker than expected employment report.

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Trouble With the Curve? Not Yet.

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on May 31, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

In recent weeks and months the Treasury yield curve has flattened which has fueled what we believe are misplaced fears that economic challenges (including a potential recession) are just around the corner. In contrast, the domestic economic readings released the last month have provided ammunition to our view that a significant rebound in economic activity is unfolding which will give the Fed with an opportunity to restart the normalization process.

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Weekly Market Podcast
5-31-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on May 31, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

May looking positive for the equity markets as domestic economic data remains supportive.

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A Positive May Through Memorial Day

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on May 27, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The S&P 500 gave investors a little more reason to celebrate this weekend as we approach the “unofficial” start to summer and an eagerly anticipated three day holiday. Mid-week the benchmark equity index posted sizable back-to-back gains of 1.37 percent and 0.70 percent respectively to bring month-to-date performance back into the green. As of mid-day Friday, the S&P 500 has returned approximately 3.55 percent in 2016.

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Time to Temper Interest Rate Risk in Operating Portfolios

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Jon Speare on May 25, 2016

Topic: Investment Strategy Market Commentary Operating Assets

Given the changing tone coming from Fed officials the last two weeks and the latest FOMC minutes, it appears that our monetary policy leaders are looking for an opportunity to restart the normalization process for short rates. As we highlight in our latest web commentary “When Doves Change Their Feathers”, Fed officials are trying to correct the financial market’s assessment of the most likely path for monetary policy.

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Weekly Market Podcast
5-23-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on May 23, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Consistently stable economic data has put the Fed back in play.

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When Doves Change Their Feathers

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on May 23, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

It was a week where several Fed doves completed their transition to hawks and investors became distinctly aware that the possibility of two rate increases from the FOMC in 2016 was still the Fed’s base case scenario. The recent weak 0.5 percent GDP calculation might have given investors a false sense of comfort that the Fed would keep monetary policy in a holding pattern.

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Is Value Investing Dead?

Posted by AJO Partners on May 20, 2016

Topic: Equities Investment Strategy Market Commentary

AJO Partners' Jocelin Reed explores the current debate about value investing in a thoughtful manner, uncovering sector biases that exist with style investing. Is Value Investing Dead? We think not, but it might seem so. In fact, we observe a bizarrely large influence of sectors (versus stocks) in the latest value/growth regime.

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As the Earnings Turn

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on May 16, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

As we come to the end of earnings season it is time for a post mortem report. We now have a clearer picture of how domestic corporations fared in three months that had unseasonably mild weather and very low energy prices. Through mid-May, more than 90 percent of reporting companies in the S&P 500 index have released first quarter 2016 earnings. Of those, 341 (75 percent) have surprised to the upside on an earnings-per-share basis with approximately 57 percent reporting positive growth. This was slightly better than the typical 70 percent “sandbag” beat that has been reported most quarters. The overall average earnings growth rate is currently at a negative -8.75 percent which is the fourth consecutive quarter with declining earnings from the peak last year. However, excluding energy and materials, earnings are only down 0.91 percent for the quarter. Moreover, many businesses are beginning to see signs of a tailwind from the recent moderation in the strength of the dollar and lower input costs.

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Weekly Market Podcast
5-16-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on May 16, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

A shift in consumer activity via the internet shows the economy is alive but department stores are challenged.

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Weekly Market Podcast
5-9-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on May 9, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Employment report was softer but not weak. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Caribbean Quandary

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on May 6, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

A small United States territory in the northeastern Caribbean is causing a lot of headlines as of late. This island, about 1,000 miles southeast of Key West has accumulated $72 billion in debt.

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Multi-Asset Quarterly Investment Performance Review & Outlook | Q1 2016

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson, Chief Investment Officer, Commonfund | Steve Snyder, Managing Director, Head of Multi-Asset Program, Commonfund | Jeff Long | Alec Rapaport, Managing Director, Head of Fixed Income Strategies | Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on May 4, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation Equities Fixed Income Market Commentary

Multi-Asset Quarterly Investment Performance Review and Outlook

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Weekly Market Podcast
5-02-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on May 2, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

April posts a small gain despite mixed data last week

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Weak GDP – Real or Residual Seasonality?

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Apr 29, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Weak GDP - Real or Residual Seasonality?

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Weekly Market Podcast
4-25-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Apr 25, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The upcoming GDP report, FOMC meeting, and earnings releases could provide the next test for the capital markets.

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Sometimes the Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Apr 22, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

In 1967, music fans were asked to imagine an alternate reality in the song “If 6 was 9”. Now almost 40 years later, the Chinese economic authorities are asking investors to do the same, only this time the question is “If 6.7 was 6.3 or maybe even just 5”. Sadly, numerologists were much more willing…

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Beige Book A Bit Rosy

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Apr 18, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The first quarter ended with investors feeling thankful for the returns they had but concerned about the potential for another weak earnings season and a lackluster tabulation of real GDP. As such April had an inauspicious start with the S&P 500 losing almost 1 percent in the first seven days of trading. However, since the first earnings report on last Monday, the S&P 500 has gained 1.64 percent and banks have doubled that returning almost 4 percent.

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Weekly Market Podcast
4-18-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Apr 18, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Equities remain resilient as the initial earnings reports are not as bad as expected.

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The Struggle for Earnings

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Apr 11, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

One of the challenges for U.S. corporations the last several quarters has been maintaining positive earnings. The sharp drop in raw material prices and weak overseas economic activity have fueled what is likely to be yet another disappointing quarter. According to FactSet, 2016:Q1 S&P 500 earnings are estimated to decline 8.5 percent from year-ago levels, which would represent the fourth consecutive yearly decline in earnings from the peak early last year. During the quarter, many equity analysts lowered earnings projections by close to 10 percent on a bottom-up basis, with the greatest weakness centered in the energy sector. This is roughly double the typical four to five percent downward adjustment to earnings registered during the majority of the last five years, but is still well below the close to 27 percent downward revision in earnings registered in 2009:Q1.

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Weekly Market Podcast
4-11-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Apr 11, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The low bar for 1st quarter earnings season may ultimately lead to an upside surprise. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
4-4-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Apr 4, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

It was a positive end to a volatile quarter for risk assets. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Markets

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Apr 4, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Only weeks into 2016 it felt like the worst parts of 2015. However, after selling off 230 points and testing the 1812 area in mid-February, the S&P 500 rallied almost 250 points in the second half of the quarter. One catalyst for the rally was stable domestic economic data supportive of the thesis that the U.S. is economically healthier than many of its global counterparts. Another catalyst was the bounce in oil prices that provided a financial reprieve for the distressed energy sector and ultimately turned one of the laggards in the global markets over the last few years, emerging markets equities, into one of the strongest performers.

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Another Solid Employment Report

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Apr 1, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 215,000 in March and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.0 percent. Strong job gains were reported in retail trade, construction, and health care, which offset declines in manufacturing and mining. The revisions for January and February were minimal (a net change of just 1,000), which placed the average payroll increase during the quarter at 209,000, only slightly below the 223,000 per month pace registered during the past 12 months.

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Mar 28, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

A closer look at the events earlier this year shows that the actual improvement in equities started a few weeks earlier in the transportation sector as market participants finally realized that this sector would benefit from low energy costs and a continuation of slow to moderate economic activity. Those who ascribe to Dow Theory would say this could be an omen of positive returns in the future.

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Weekly Market Podcast
3-28-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Mar 28, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Equities turned positive for 2016 buoyed by domestic economic resilience. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Xchange Webcast: Risk, Return and Volatility

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson, Chief Investment Officer, Commonfund | Brett Lane, Managing Director on Mar 22, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation Equities Fixed Income Investment Strategy Market Commentary Risk Management

Xchange Webcast: Risk, Return and Volatility with Chief Investment Officer Mark Anson

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Weekly Market Podcast
3-21-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Mar 21, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Equities turned positive for 2016 buoyed by domestic economic resilience. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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The Fed Abides

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Mar 18, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

As a follow-up to last week’s commentary, the FOMC, as was widely expected, held monetary policy steady at the March 15-16 FOMC meeting and is now projecting a “lower for longer” path to interest rate normalization than they had been touting since late last year.

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Super Mario or Sugar High?

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Mar 15, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

In a week deprived of economic data, market sentiment was mostly driven by the anticipation of central bank action. It was a volatile week for equities but the prospects of better economic conditions and signs of investor asset rebalancing from fixed income to equities fueled a continuation of the rebound since mid-February. Domestically, there wasn’t much to focus on except for an encouraging wholesale inventories report and the storylines of the presidential election season. The U.S. economy will be front and center this week when the FOMC meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. The focus last week, however, was on the overseas central banks who are the accommodative “Yin” to the FOMC’s tightening “Yang” in the world of divergent monetary policies.

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Weekly Market Podcast
3-14-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Mar 14, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The Fed most likely will stay on hold this week but data supports more rate hikes in 2016. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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It’s the Economy Cupid

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Mar 7, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The last five weeks can be divided into two distinct trading periods. Through mid-February it seemed the volatility of 2016 was the new constant and the markets were destined to remain unsettled. However, after re-testing the 1812 lows of the year on February 11th, the S&P 500 rallied approximately 120 points in the second half of the month and then gained another 68 points (3.5 percent) in the first four days of March. Thus, a good portion of the gains occurred after cupid struck on Valentine’s Day.

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Weekly Market Podcast
3-7-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Mar 7, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Better domestic news is at least partially to blame for the equity gains over the last three weeks. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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God Save the British Pound

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Feb 29, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The currency of what has been one of the strongest economies in the European Union (“EU”) has fallen about 15 percent since August 2015 with a good portion of the move occurring this month. The British pound is now at its lowest level in eight years with many speculating it could plummet to levels not seen since 1985, when Margaret Thatcher took on the steelworkers union, if it were to secede from the EU.

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Weekly Market Podcast
2-29-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Feb 29, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Mild 4th quarter 2015 weather may result in lower payroll statistics for February. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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On Narrow Markets and Smart Beta

Posted by Mark Bennett, Managing Director, Commonfund on Feb 28, 2016

Topic: Equities Investment Strategy Market Commentary

We’ve all heard a manager complain about narrow markets. We are guilty of it ourselves. What is a narrow market and how do we view it in the context of recent equity performance?

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The Stock Market Isn’t Always Right

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Feb 22, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

The sharp stock market selloff in early 2016 sparked fears among many market participants that a deflationary-induced recession had started here in the United States. However, a lesson we learned many years ago was that the stock market is often a bad forecaster of economic conditions.

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Weekly Market Podcast
2-22-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Feb 22, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Plenty of data for investors with housing, GDP, durable goods and Fed speeches this week. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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Weekly Market Podcast
2-16-16

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist on Feb 16, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Last week’s retail sales will likely provide a boost to 2016:Q1 real GDP. Listen to Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist Michael Strauss as he provides his weekly economic overview.

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CoCos Go Puff

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Feb 13, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

This past week investors were given a crash course on the contingent convertible bonds (CoCos) issued by European Banks. Since 2013 banks across Europe have been urged by regulators to shore up their capital buffers with what is referred to as Additional Tier 1 (AT1) capital. In response, the banks issued approximately $100 billion of a new form of bonds, tier one contingent convertible bonds, more commonly called CoCo bonds.

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Happy New Year!
(Chinese New Year, That Is!)

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson, Chief Investment Officer, Commonfund on Feb 11, 2016

Topic: Investment Strategy Market Commentary

The Chinese New Year began in February and this year it is the “Year of the Monkey.” Now, monkeys are well known for being unpredictable and mischievous animals, full of playfulness and hijinks. In fact, it is their mischievous nature that is responsible for the saying “throwing a monkey wrench” into an otherwise smooth operating process. Indeed, it seems as if a monkey wrench has been thrown into the global equity markets in 2016.

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Dudley Impersonates Draghi

Posted by Michael Strauss, Chief Investment Strategist and Chief Economist | Ryan Driscoll, CFA, Director on Feb 8, 2016

Topic: Market Commentary

Last Wednesday, the energy and equity markets both had at least a temporary reversal up day as oil prices rallied almost 10 percent from the lows of the day and the S&P 500, which was at mid-day down 30 points, rallied to finish up 10 points. One of the market headlines investors focused on was OPEC possibly moving to cut production.

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